[toc]European fantasy sports provider Oulala is beginning to establish a global presence. Over the last couple weeks, it has announced several major business-to-business partnerships.
- The first is a deal with Marsbet designed to expand its reach throughout Europe.
- The second, a partnership with Safaribet Kenya, gives it a significant footprint in Africa.
- Most recently, a deal with Bravio Gaming has the Indian market in mind.
What is Oulala?
Oulala is a European football (soccer) manager that launched in August 2013. It added paid contests two years later, becoming a full-fledged daily fantasy sports operator.
The site offers contests across five of Europe’s largest football leagues:
- English Premier League (UK)
- Ligue 1 (France)
- Serie A (Italy)
- La Liga (Spain)
- Süper Lig (Turkey)
Entry fees range from free to €200, though most are nowhere near the high end.
Although DFS is skill-based by most definitions, Oulala’s format is particularly dependent on the prowess of the user.
Most notably, the lineup interface allows users to manage their teams during matches by shifting formations and substituting players in and out. It tracks more than 70 different stats and metrics, too, far more than any of its mainstream counterparts. It calls itself the “first fantasy football game to be a true skill game.”
European regulators agree. Oulala holds one of the precious controlled skill games (CSG) licenses from the Malta Gaming Authority. It’s a valuable document in the DFS space, providing authorization to run contests across multiple countries in the European Union. DraftKings obtained the same license in preparation for its recent expansion into Germany, and later Austria and Ireland.
The business-to-consumer portion of Oulala’s business seems to be doing fine, but it has ambitions as a comprehensive B2B platform, too.
Marsbet brings DFS into the iGaming space
Marsbet is a worldwide iGaming brand with properties in several countries.
According to its website, it “strives to create innovative, technologically advanced gaming concepts of top quality that pervade as many different environments as possible, bringing numerous physical and cognitive benefits to their users while they are having fun.”
Marsbet is a subsidiary of Alpha Entertainment B.V., based in Curaçao, and it holds a gaming license in Malta. The family of Marsbet web properties features casino games, sports betting, and poker. And now fantasy sports.
As part of the new partnership, Oulala’s product is integrated directly into Marsbet’s iGaming platform. The contests are available in the top-level navigation of its sister site, Piramit Casino.
Oulala’s Managing Director, Benjamin Carlotti, commented on the partnership:
Sports betting operators are now fully convinced of the benefits that come with offering DFS to their clients. The Oulala Network fits the exact needs of the new generations and it also generates long term loyalty.
Oulala has more than one iron in the fire, though.
Safaribet Kenya brings DFS into East Africa
Safaribet Kenya is one of the leading sports betting sites in East Africa. It serves bettors through its website as well as SMS messaging, which is more accessible to more people in the region.
Oulala’s CEO Valery Bollier commented about the opportunity he sees in the African marketplace:
We have actually come to the realization that convincing young operators to implement our approach is much easier, since they are less consumed by the “milk your customer/cow” route.
Essentially, young operators from Africa, Asia and South America, as well as new entrants within the European market are far more eager to try out a new product and business model as they are still in the process of establishing and building up their brand and market.
Safaribet Kenya is one of those eager young operators, as CEO Imran Premji was happy to point out:
We are known as a vibrant, disruptive sports betting brand that likes to cut across barriers and drive social interactions, so offering daily fantasy football games fits perfectly into our vision of connecting with our customers on an emotional level.
Although it’s still building a foundation in Kenya, Safaribet has plans to expand to additional East African markets like Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. If and when it does, Oulala would likely tag along for the ride.
Africa seems to have a particularly strong appetite for daily fantasy sports, too. Oulala sees it as the world’s largest untapped market, and Oulala Managing Director Benjamin Carlotti was invited to speak at the Gaming Africa conference in Johannesburg. Bollier did the same just last week at the BiG Africa Supershow in the same city.
India too for DFS?
The latest expansion comes between Oulala and Bravio Gaming Limited, which is an “Australian registered B2B and B2C provider of online digital entertainment.”
Bravio recently acquired Mobimedia India, a mobile marketing agency which implements and manages strategic integrated mobile marketing campaigns for corporate clients and brands. Bravio, though that deal, has exposure to 250 million mobile phone users in India.
”It’s a fantastic opportunity to partner with team Oulala; we can now offer our large mobile Indian network the option to play daily fantasy football,” Bravio CTO Richard Boyd said. “The Indian public loves football, and it is the logical step to offer them a skill-based DFS platform.”
A rollout in India is planned soon, with Australia possibly on the way next year, the two companies offered in a press release.
Is white label DFS the way of the future?
Rather than try to compete head-on with DraftKings, Oulala is charting its own path through the European marketplace and beyond. It’s already built a solid product on home turf, but expanding its B2C operations would require a significant amount of resources.
It’s a lot easier to partner with other companies rather than trying to acquire customers itself. By providing its game as a white-label, B2B product for other established entities, Oulala takes a lot of the work off its own hands.
The idea of white-label DFS operators has been around for awhile, but hasn’t gained that much traction. This year, Global Daily Fantasy Sports acquired Mondogoal, one of the few operators that had been going down this path.
There’s also the question of whether white-label DFS can work in the US.
Pennsylvania recently became the fourth state to legalize online gambling, joining Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. The latter three already have online casinos up and running. The idea of DFS being positioned alongside iGaming products like casino and virtual slots isn’t far-fetched.
It’s already happened in New Jersey, where FastPick is a branded version of the Sport AD platform offered by Resorts Atlantic City. FastPick offers parlay-style fantasy games that are different from the salary-cap model that dominates the industry.